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UNICEF & BBF’s Basketball Camp to Conclude with Rally and Tournament

Belize City, July 23, 2009 – More than 900 youth from across the country of Belize will converge at the Belize City Center tomorrow, Friday July 24, 2009 for a Rally and U-17 National Basketball Championship. These youth participated in the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)-sponsored “Ballers for Life” basketball camp held under the auspices of the Belize Basketball Federation (BBF).
The rally and tournament will mark the closure of the two-week camp, which started on July 13th, and was held simultaneously for youth ages 10 to 17 in all six districts and the Capital, Belmopan City. It focused on personal development through sports and exposed participants to life skills, team work, and developing and honing fundamental basketball skills such as dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense.

During camp, participants actively engaged in basketball activities such as scrimmaging and learning the rules. But they also took timeout to discus issues of importance to young people and received core camp messages. UNICEF provided the content for those presentations, using the basketball platform to deliver positive messages to the youth on conflict resolution, children’s rights, and HIV/AIDs.
“We saw this as a ‘Sports for Development’ opportunity and so we gladly agreed to partner with the BBF when they approached us,” said Sherlene Tablada, HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Development Officer at UNICEF. “With more than 900 youth attending this structured camp, this was a perfect opportunity for UNICEF to reach out to these youths and give them positive messages for life.”

Paul Thompson, President of the BBF, says that with UNICEF’s support and commitment, the “Baller’s for Life” Camp has been a success.

“We did not turn away anyone who wanted to attend the camp,” Thompson said. “For us, it meant providing a positive space for the youth to recreate in a safe environment where they could learn the game of basketball. It also afforded us an opportunity to teach them respect and how to resolve conflicts.”  

For more information:
Neville Samuels,  nsamuels@unicef.org, UNICEF Belize
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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